Insomnia is a problem that involves having trouble to fall or stay asleep. It can either be short-term or chronic. Chronic insomnia (long-term) may be as a result of underlying physical or psychological conditions. This article outlines the best treatments for chronic insomnia patients.
Best Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy is a scientifically proven technique known to cure chronic insomnia. Studies have reported that nearly all patients suffering from primary chronic insomnia get help from these treatments. Moreover, the benefits of behavioral and psychological therapy are long lasting. These techniques have been known to work faster than medication and are suitable for all age groups, from children to the elderly. The treatments include:
- Stimulus control – It will help you to associate sleep with the bedroom. You will be able to establish a consistent sleep and wake pattern.
- Relaxation training- The method aims at minimizing intrusive thoughts and tension that may be interfering with your sleep.
- Sleep restriction – This technique limits the amount of time you spend in bed. It further narrows it down to the actual time spent sleeping, creating a mild form of sleep deprivation. As you continue with the therapy, sleep time will be increased with improvements in your sleeping.
The above the methods together with other forms of behavioral approaches have two main primary goals. The first is to reduce the time you will take to go to sleep (below 30 minutes). Secondly, they aim to reduce your nighttime wake-up periods. Recent studies have shown that a high percentage of individuals treated with therapy experience improved sleep. Those who had been previously taking drugs have reduced their use, or even stopped entirely.
The therapies are carried out by specially trained GPs or, a clinical psychologist. It may be conducted in one-on-one sessions with a therapist or a small group consisting of people with similar sleep problems. Online courses and self-help books can also be used.
Best Sleep Hygiene Tips
Insomnia can be improved by making a change to your bedtime and daytime habits. These small changes can go a long way in helping you to enjoy your sleep. One of them is to avoid taking a nap during the day. Napping disrupts a person’s normal sleeping pattern. Daytime napping can make it difficult for you to sleep at night. If you have to take a nap, ensure you limit it to thirty minutes or less before 3 p.m.
Taking of alcohol and stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine before bed should be avoided. You should not drinking any caffeinated beverage at least 8 hours before bed. Remember that chocolate also contains caffeine. As much as alcohol is popularly known to make a person sleep quickly, it later begins to disrupt sleep. Metabolism of the alcohol by the body causes arousal.
Regular exercise can lead to a good night sleep. It, however, takes several months to feel the desired effects. 30 minutes or more of exercises such as cycling or walking will be perfect. However, regular exercises done 4 hours before retiring to bed may make falling asleep difficult.
When food is taken right before sleep, it can have a disruptive effect. It is important to avoid large meals before bedtime. Dietary changes may also lead to sleeping problems. It is best for patients suffering from insomnia not to begin trying out spicy dishes. Fatty foods are quite demanding to digest, and acidic foods may cause heartburn, they should, therefore, be avoided.
Best Way to Fall Asleep Naturally
Some naturals sleep aids that are quite useful in dealing with chronic insomnia. One of the best ways is through progressive muscle relaxation. It is an exercise where a person is required to systematically tense his muscle groups and then relax them. Apart from promoting overall physical relaxation, the technique reduces fatigue and improves the quality of sleep.
Meditation presents another amazing natural way of dealing with insomnia. It is perfect for people who would rather quiet their minds than work on their muscles. The success of meditation in fighting insomnia was revealed in a study carried out in 2009. Researchers discovered that meditators slept better and longer.
Yoga is a physical activity that quiets the mind. As much as there are no scientific facts to show how regular yoga practice leads to better sleep, it is general known that yoga greatly helps in relaxation. Many people have associated their improved chronic insomnia with the technique. It, therefore, holds that yoga is a brilliant solution to people having sleeping problems due to their inability to relax.
Best Herbs for Chronic Insomnia
More than 1.5 million adults in the US use alternative and complementary therapies in the treatment of insomnia. This has made herbal remedies quite common. Some such as lemon balm and chamomile tea are harmless. However, others have been known to cause serious side effects. It is vital for these products to be only taken when approved by a doctor.
One of the best herbs is Valerian, a perfect solution to a racing and worried mind. You can take 4 capsules an hour before going to bed. This will last for about four hours. You can take another 4 capsules if you happen to wake up during the night. The herb is an excellent sedative but does not have the side effects associated with regular sedatives.
The California poppy is an effective herb that is best suited to treat insomnia that is caused by anxiety and restlessness. In addition to helping a patient fall asleep, the herb will also improve his quality of sleep. It is safe and gentle for children. Try two daily doses, each of 30-40 drops.
Passion flower is another excellent herb. It is most effective to people who wake up frequently in the night. It is safe for both children and persons with compromised health. You can take Passion flower in large doses for a long time without any adverse effects. You can experiment with 10-60 drops before bed. If that proves not to be inadequate, take the same dose between one and four times daily.